The coyote that threatened a Huntersville family over the weekend was confirmed to be rabid, the Animal Care & Control Division said Tuesday.
John Schroter’s family posted a 59-second video, taken from their car, of the animal pacing along a fence near their home and then snarling at the car and biting its bumper. Schroter, realizing the behavior was unusual, called 911 from his car.
No people or pets were harmed by the animal, Animal Control spokeswoman Melissa Knicely said.
While coyotes have flooded North Carolina in recent years, taking up residence in every county, they don’t appear to be carrying rabies as widely as bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks do.
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The Huntersville incident appears to be the third confirmed case of a rabid coyote in Mecklenburg County in the past decade, according to state data, and only the fifth case statewide in that time. Mecklenburg has had 33 confirmed cases of rabies in bats in the past decade, 24 cases in foxes and 140 cases in raccoons.
Coyotes rarely contract rabies, a fatal viral disease, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says. More than 90 percent of the confirmed U.S. cases in 2015 came from bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 20- to 45-pound animals are normally curious and wary, and attacks on people are extremely rare. But they may become bolder if they find food sources near people. Coyotes view cats and small dogs as prey.
To prevent conflicts, the state wildlife commission advises residents to:
▪ Secure garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
▪ Keep pets inside, leashed or inside fenced areas.
▪ Don’t leave pet food outdoors, and keep seed off the ground under bird feeders.
▪ Cut back brushy areas around your yard that can provide cover for coyotes.
▪ Don’t be intimidated by coyotes, but make them unwelcome by throwing objects such as tennis balls, making a loud noise or spraying them with a hose.